Victoria B on 24 July 2020

The day of payment is a mixed blessing, before I even get out of bed I'm making my necessary bill payments for the month ahead on my phone, then I ring landlord to pay rent, then I place online food order. That day we also have a small takeaway, whatever is cheapest, heaven knows I need a break from cooking from time to time. I'm so tired most days, and relief is just as exhausting mentally as panic is. The next few days are the small thrill of deliveries. Food arrives, the fridge is full and hopes are high. I try to minimise waste and save every penny. But the facts are what once would have lasted a month now barely lasts a fortnight. By week two, as careful as I've been, we're often down to relying on the children's weekly child benefits to get our milk and basics. Then the countdown begins, first to the day when I will find out just how much I'm actually gonna great (this is what triggered my wanting to write this entry so I'll come back to it in a moment), then the anxious wait for the actual payment. The fears of 'what if it doesn't come through, what if its cancelled, what if they lied and won't send it' are hard to bare with a smile. For if someone on benefits ever complains about benefits they're shamed with 'be grateful for what you've got' and 'beggers can't be choosers' and 'it's your own fault you need benefits anyway' (when for most of us it's not). It's hellish. As for the waiting. About 3 or 4 days before payment is due, you can log into your universal credit online account and find out how much you will get. A statement. It states what you're entitled too, what's taken out for repayments and what will be received on the payment date. Waiting for this statement is horrid. My next one is due on Monday. Monday coming I will find out how much money I'll get to survive and provide for my children for another month. I don't know how much I'll get, I've no idea. I know what I'm meant to get, what the law states a woman of my age is worth, but I don't know what I will actually physically get.

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